I know that the scene with the kids in the finale of How I Met Your Mother had all been recorded a while back as a way to make sure they looked the same throughout the series, and I know the ending had been decided a lot sooner than some other parts of the series. However, there are scenes that give us flashbacks in which the actors actually look younger than they do in the rest of the episode. And some of these scenes are slowly completed as the years go by.

Take Barney and Ted's first meeting scene. When there is a first appearance by that scene they actually look like they would the year they met. And than in later episodes (and seasons) the scene is completed with other, shorter, shorter scenes in which Ted and Barney still look about the same age they did when the scene first came up.

Were those kinds of scenes actually recorded in the earlier seasons of the show or do they use make up only to make it seem like the past?

I would have guessed make up, but because of the fact with the kids scene I thought I might be wrong.

  • 1
    "I would have guessed make up" Same here, as well as wigs and other accessories. Plus some of them are still relatively young (Josh, Jason & Cobie are currently in their early-mid 30s).
    – Walt
    Commented Jun 27, 2015 at 17:17
  • Indeed they are, but you can notice a pretty big difference from their first episode to the last. Since the kids scenes were recorded before hand I just thought they might have done that.
    – AugustoQ
    Commented Jun 27, 2015 at 19:29

1 Answer 1


As you said yourself, it's make up. I think that's the case simply because most networks that film some series, especially the ones that turn out to be long running (like How I Met Your Mother and many other similar shows) don't know how long the series is going to last (when they start filming it).

This is the case for most shows because with the first few seasons the networks are still testing how people are reacting to the show, gaining/losing audience and basically estimating is it worth continuing to film it. If they decide it is, then they start planning for the future. Notice that most of those flasback scenes and episodes take place in later seasons when the show is fully established.

Just think about what would happen if they had already filmed a scene that happens in, for example lets say season 5 or 6, in season 1 or 2. They would have to know the huge part of the story at start so that they can fit that scene in season 6. Another problem with this is that if the show flopped in the meantime, it would just be canceled and the scene would never been used (wasted work).

If you wathed the entire series to the end you can see what is the problem with pre filmed material (focus on the last episode). Many viewers of the show (including me) didn't like the ending of the show. Why? Simply beacuse it didn't fit the show. It would have fit the show if the show ended earlier (seasons 3-4). But since the show was much longer than that, the characters evolved and changed in the meantime. It just looked like they threw everything that happened before and stuck to the idea (they had at the start) that

Ted should end up with Robin.

If you watched the whole show you had seen that it's a pretty forced ending, since characters evolved and their relationship changed over time. And all of that because they used pre filmed material.

  • Robin wasn't a fixed outcome, though it was indeed the outcome the show writers had kept as the main goal. Before any season was started, they also decided on an alternate ending, in case this season was the last one. For several seasons, Victoria was actually slated to be the mother (and no Robin continuation, since the abrupt ending before cancellation was already going to be forced).
    – Flater
    Commented Nov 8, 2017 at 9:24

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